Reserve component holds acquisition training summit
by Lt. Col. Miriam Castro, Army Reserve Sustainment Command
More than 150 Soldiers participated in the 2019 Reserve Component Acquisition Training Summit in St. Louis, Missouri, over the summer, taking part in sessions that focused on developments within the Army acquisition workforce.
Active duty Soldiers as well as those from the Army Reserve and National Guard engaged in training and discussion during the two-day summit June 13-14. Career field managers presented newly implemented prospects for career development that highlighted education with industry initiatives to increase acquisition acumen; discussed management of acquisition positions; and provided insight into the board selection process for various developmental opportunities. Working group breakout sessions focused on administrative training for contingency contracting missions in support of the U.S. Central Command.
“The training summit was a great introduction to the career field for me,” said Maj. Henry Trudell II, who will soon begin an assignment as an assistant product manager with the Program Executive Office for Soldier at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. “The information was relevant and thorough, and presenters were willing to address questions.” Trudell also said that he was encouraged by the cross-utilization of resources, knowledge sharing and information.
One of the key focus areas of this year’s summit was common challenges experienced by the Reserve and National Guard as well as how policies affect these components.
Brig. Gen. Jonathan McColumn, senior proponent advisor for the acquisition career field and currently assigned as chief of Sustainment for the U.S. Army Central Command, discussed contract issues in support of wartime missions. “The active component does not have the capacity to accommodate those functions, and that is where Reserve forces can bring their expertise to assist in resolving those issues,” he said. McColumn noted critical areas of concern: timely de-obligation of funds from contracts to allow requiring activities to use monies for other requirements; sufficiently administering and closing out contracts; and ensuring that contracting officer’s representatives are capable of executing required duties.
Attendees agreed that developing and providing resources for training and validation exercises is imperative, and appreciated the opportunity to come together during the summit. “Acquisition professionals benefit from synchronizing stakeholder efforts to provide a platform for future operational success,” said Col. Warren Seymour, who is assigned to the Contract Administrative Support Office at Army Reserve Headquarters “These efforts facilitate preparedness in the operational environment.”
McColumn urged attendees to work together to determine future needs of the workforce in support of the active component. “I’m thrilled about the enthusiasm these Soldiers have for their vocation. My goal is to facilitate 51-Charlie opportunities to allow these Soldiers to fulfill their potential,” he said, referencing the military occupational specialty code for acquisition noncommissioned officers.
Career information for 51C NCOs can be found at https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/. The active component Reclassification Program is now accepting application packets; more information is at https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/military-nco/active-component-reclass-program/.
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